Pall's life has never been easy. From the moment he was born, he's had to put up with the fact that people shun him. Part of him often wonders as to why they do so, but he does his best to ignore the things he cannot understand. Living a life full of heartache and constant struggles, he immerses himself in the world around him. War and pain are things he's only ever known, yet deep inside he knows there's something more out there. He just has to be patient until he finds it.
A dark, yet bittersweet story, The Penitent immerses us in the circumstances of Pall's life. This is a man who's been dealt card after painful card from the moment he came into the world. His father never lets him forget the reason behind his existence. Neither do the people within the small town they live in. Nevertheless, he does his best to find traction in the world he lives in.
A.'s unique way of storytelling captures the reader's attention. It makes the reader want to delve further in finding out whether Pall changes the circumstances of his existence. If he's able to find meaning within the chaos he deals with on a daily basis. Touched by the Hand of God, Pall refuses to leave things as they are. He will do what's right no matter the cost.
Pall's journey of discovery and his search for the truth takes him further than he ever imagined. It's a journey that allows him to become what he was always meant to be. The author has done a wonderful job in creating such a complex world and characters. Though the story does have a slow start, at first, don't let that deter you from continuing on. It's worth diving further into this dark and troubled tale.
In the midst of a post-apocalyptic descent into savagery, the tender heart of humanity is still beating strong.
In the family.
Pall is a young warrior who is brutally tortured by a gang of marauding thugs. Before they're able to kill him, he's lucky enough to escape into the forest, where he takes comfort in his happy childhood memories. Even though his mother died giving birth to him - hence his name, Pall - he grew to love his stepmother just as much. Looking back, Pall deeply appreciates, how along with his father, the two of them created such a loving environment for him to grow up in, despite the tragic way he entered the world.
As he grasps the sword his father made for him, he is filled with pride, knowing how it was forged from the metal of "heaven's own starry host." It's a blade that knows not defeat, a priceless gift, and Pall is well aware that by wielding it, he is sworn to uphold his calling to protect the weak, the ill and the aged. The job falls to him to uphold justice in a land ravaged by violence and cruelty, and Pall willingly shoulders the burden of responsibility that comes along with that.
Yet even among so much hostility, Pall encounters kindness in the form of a young, married couple and their two little girls. His heart immediately goes out to them when he sees how vulnerable they are, and he agrees to help them cross a raging river with their wagon full of supplies. It's a beautiful expression of camaraderie and goodwill, knowing that even if they make it, they're still going to be facing nearly insurmountable odds to stay alive.
Despite the unforgiving environment, Pall is able to see in them a reflection of his own upbringing, and it gives him hope that maybe all is not lost. A glimmer of what he remembers so fondly still remains, and Pall cherishes the love this family has for each other. For him, they are a bright light shining through the darkness, refusing to go out.
And I, for one, love the message that goes along with that.
The year 2156 is a frightening place. Probably because it looks more like a scene out of earth's feudal past than a promising glimpse into the future. In fact, it reminded me of something you might see in a "Walking Dead" episode, where the strongest humans enjoy picking off the weakest one by one, while making them suffer. Existence in this land is a day-to-day, minute-by-minute game of survival.
But evil doesn't just lurk in the hearts of men. Oh no, it takes a definite physical presence in the form of the supernatural creature called Unger, a black serpent that can break off into multiple animal shapes to devour human life in "a high mass of death." This demon-like entity is as unforgiving as it is scary. Once it has a human in its sights, watch out because there's no getting away from it.
Yet there exists a ray of hope in all this gloom in a boy named Pall. He seems to have the power of heaven on his side when an angel appears to him, rescuing him from danger with its song. Not to mention how he's guarded by a forest full of illuminated trees, shielding him against the encroaching terrors of darkness.
The power of unspoiled nature, itself, delivers him from his enemies, granting him mercy from the sort "who take grim satisfaction at the fear they put in men's eyes."
So when Pall utters an ancient plea for help, his prayer is heard and answered from above. And what a comforting thought, that is. He's not alone, and therefore, neither are we, as we travel with him on this perilous journey.
There's a higher power watching over the good people who are left in Pall's world (and hopefully in ours, too).
Couldn't put this book down! Loved the character development and the story line made it a really compelling read. Anxiously awaiting the release of part 2. All of the characters were well developed. Kudos!
The beginning nearly made me want to stop...but keep on reading-- this book is worth the challenge. It ebbs and pulls you in and when you think you can guess the end....SURPRISE! I was disappointed when I finished the book-- I WANT THE SEQUEL!!